Montana Rickards Walking Bull


Montana Rickards Walking Bull standing outside of Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon, 1975.

Dr. Montana Rickards Walking Bull was born on January 22, 1913 to a Cherokee mother and white Methodist minister father. She was one of nine children.

Though Dr. Walking Bull spent most of her childhood in Oklahoma, she moved to eastern Oregon for the last two years of high school, earning a diploma from LaGrande High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma. After receiving her master’s degree, Dr. Walking Bull held various teaching positions in Oklahoma, Texas, California, and Oregon.

She began teaching at Oregon College of Education (OCE) in Monmouth as a professor of humanities and education in 1963. While teaching, she earned her doctorate from the University of Oregon.

In 1975, Dr. Walking Bull and Gilbert Rickards, her husband, and both members of the Oglala Sioux tribe, published their first book in a series, O-Hu-Kah-Kan: poetry, songs, legends and stories; it was among the first books to print the Oglala language. Both Dr. Walking Bull and her husband were passionate about the promotion of Native American literature, language, and culture.

Dr. Montana Walking Bull continued to teach at the Oregon College of Education, by that time known as Western Oregon State College, until her death in 1987.